Jennie says thanks for her care by helping ensure others can get the care they need

It was 5:30 p.m. by the time Jennie Ireland got the diagnosis she’d been dreading. Suddenly, she was a 42-year-old single mom with a seven-year-old son, aging parents, and she’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Looking back, it was an awful time,” Jennie says. On sleepless nights, she worried about what her illness would mean for her son, Liam. Could she take him to hockey practice and help him with his schoolwork? Would she be there to watch him grow up? “But I refused to give up hope,” she says. “And receiving care at PRHC was my lifeline.”

Jennie explains that being able to get care in her community with donor-funded technology meant less worry. Without it, she would have had to travel to Toronto, Oshawa or even Kingston for months on end. “I believe it had a positive impact on my recovery,” she says. “Because I was able to get care close to home, I could focus on what mattered most: Getting better and keeping life as normal as possible for my son.”

Like many people, Jennie was surprised to find out that the government doesn’t fund hospital equipment and that a population of more than 600,000 relies on PRHC for care. This includes people from the city and county of Peterborough, the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County, east Durham, and the Haliburton Highlands.

Patients come to PRHC with a wide range of needs, from treatment for cancer, heart attacks and strokes, to surgery or mental health care. They may be seeking treatment in an emergency, or because of a chronic condition. Whatever the reason, Jennie wants to ensure that like her, others can get the care they need, close to home.

“I became a donor, volunteer fundraiser and a PRHC Foundation ambassador to help our hospital upgrade its technology so that more patients like me can get the care they need when they need it most,” says Jennie. “But PRHC can only do it with our help. I’d like everyone who can to join me in donating so doctors, nurses and staff have the best equipment to provide the best care.”

To donate, please call 705-876-5000 or click here.

Jennie Ireland says thanks

If you’ve lived with cancer or supported a loved one through treatment, you know how hard it is. Not only the illness itself, but the treatment, too. Cancer care patient Jennie Ireland explains that that’s why receiving care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre was her lifeline. She says it’s thanks to caring people like you that she’s now cancer-free, because PRHC Foundation donors funded the equipment her doctors used to save her life.

“Being able to get my treatment in my community meant less worry and I believe, had a positive impact on my recovery. Without it, I would have had to travel to Toronto, Oshawa or even Kingston, for months on end,” says Jennie. “So, I’m so thankful to donors for all the ways you’ve supported cancer care at our hospital. Your donations really do make a difference. I know I didn’t realize the full extent, though, until I experienced it firsthand.”

There are many more patients like Jennie. With rising patient volumes, especially in cancer care, our region needs the latest technology to help doctors find and treat complex cases faster and more safely, shorten wait times, and save more lives. That’s why supporting investments in essential areas that support cancer care, like interventional radiology, is crucial. And it’s just one of the areas PRHC is investing in to address this demand.

One of the important upgrades needed as part of PRHC’s $6 million investment in minimally invasive interventional radiology is an advanced, portable ultrasound machine. The latest interventional radiology ultrasound systems provide fast, detailed imaging for the most accurate visualization and advanced needle navigational assistance – critical in finding a safe path to the desired area inside the body without puncturing vessels, bowel or other organs.

At PRHC, interventional radiology ultrasound is used during tumour or organ lesion biopsies and in the placement of port-a-caths and PICC lines – which allow for less obvious, longterm access to chemotherapy, with less risk of infection.

Jennie had a PICC line inserted in an interventional radiology procedure at PRHC as part of her cancer treatment. She says she was terrified, but because it was done locally her mom could come with her. She explains what it meant to her:

“After I was diagnosed with an aggressive, fast-growing tumour that had spread to my lymph nodes, my days were filled with scans, surgeries, and rounds of chemo and radiation. I quickly became familiar with every corner of the hospital – even places I’d never heard of like interventional radiology.

“That’s where they put my PICC line in,” she adds. “This was the ‘port’ that was used to deliver my chemotherapy. It stayed in my arm for months, giving me longterm access to treatment, with less risk of infection. I could shower or even swim with it.”

PICC lines and other similar, implantable devices make life a little easier for patients when it really counts. With advanced new interventional radiology ultrasound technology that has improved image quality for vessel analysis, placement of these devices will be even easier for interventional radiologists – and their patients. The new equipment will also help in procedures where placing drains under image guidance is crucial, such as biliary, gallbladder, kidney and abscess tube insertions.

Jennie says, “It’s all this behind-the-scenes, donor-funded care that makes it possible for our hospital to provide lifesaving treatment – right here in Peterborough – under one roof. I can’t tell you what a relief it was that I could focus solely on my health without the added stress of arranging travel, meals, and lodging. My dad drove me to my appointments. My mom cooked dinner on infusion days when I was at my weakest and dealing with chemo side effects. Most importantly, I didn’t have to disrupt my son’s daily routine.”

Care close to home made a difference for Jennie and her family. She became a donor to the PRHC Foundation to help PRHC upgrade their cancer care technology so that more patients like her can get the care they need, where they need it most. You too can help shape the future of patient care at your hospital. To donate in support of this exciting interventional radiology investment or for more information, call 705-876-5000 or click here.

Patient grateful for donor-funded tools used to diagnose and treat her cancer, close to home

Smiling woman standing outside the PRHC

Tracey Germa’s mammogram was supposed to be routine, but a few days later she was back at PRHC for an ultrasound, then a biopsy. With invasive ductal carcinoma confirmed, Tracey had a mastectomy.

“Since then I’ve been grateful, again and again, to PRHC’s doctors, nurses, and staff for their expert care and their compassion,” she says.

Tracey is also thankful to donors, who funded the tools her team used to diagnose and treat her close to home.

“From the mammography machines and ultrasounds, to the surgical suites, lab equipment and Dysart Radiation Centre. Thanks to donors, I had access to leading-edge technology that helped PRHC shorten my wait times while giving my doctor the clearest results,” she says. “Our hospital gave me a better chance at surviving.”

Dave’s Walk inspired our community to get involved and raise over $11,000 for PRHC!

Dave Graham holds a donation cheque

Dave Graham and his family were shocked when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in late March 2021. “But we had to keep our heads up and keep going,” he says. 74-year-old Dave truly got going. He started walking for exercise and his daily strolls gave him time to think and pray. His strong faith played a large role in carrying him through his diagnosis, then surgery a couple of months later.

Dave describes PRHC’s Cancer Clinic as another bright light at that dark time. While he wasn’t happy about why he had to go there, he found he looked forward to seeing the healthcare professionals who supported him during his twice monthly chemotherapy appointments. He appreciated their compassionate and upbeat attitudes, and straightforward approach to care.

Dave also found comfort in the support of his family, church community and close friends. One of those friends had his own personal experience with a cancer diagnosis and care at PRHC’s Cancer Clinic. Dave had always admired his friend’s positive spirit and after his diagnosis, appreciated it even more. “And there are so many people with cancer,” Dave says. “They’re all suffering and struggling, and I wanted to inspire them the way my friend inspired me.”

While experiencing great care and with so much support around him, Dave decided that something good had to come from his diagnosis. He was moved to give back to his hospital and his community.

Dave approached the PRHC Foundation, and with a little help, set up a fundraising initiative as a way to say thank you to PRHC’s Cancer Care team and contribute to the care of other cancer patients. He couldn’t have known then the extent of the positive impact his fundraiser would have.

Dave set a big goal: Walk 7,000 steps a day through mid-December when his chemotherapy was due to end, and raise $5,000 to help fund the equipment and technology PRHC’s doctors, nurses and staff use every day to provide outstanding cancer care to patients from around the region, close to home.

The community’s response to Dave’s fundraiser was overwhelming. Not only did people donate, they reached out with prayers and words of encouragement and thanks. Dave received emails and phone calls, sometimes from acquaintances he hadn’t seen in years.

“One day the doorbell rang,” Dave says. “And there was a man I worked with 30 years ago. He’d heard about the fundraiser and wanted to personally give me a $100 donation and wish me well.”

People Dave has never met reached out, too. “I’ve received notes from strangers, people who are also going through cancer or have a family member with cancer,” he says. “They’d say, ‘we’re all going through this, we have to help each other.’”

The support of his community inspired Dave all over again. “Some mornings instead of getting up to walk at 6am, I just wanted to stay in bed. But my community kept me going,” he says. “All these people were walking with me.”

Soon Dave surpassed his $5,000 goal and he raised the bar to $10,000. The area’s residents responded once more, taking Dave’s Walk from one man’s objective to “a team effort,” Dave says.

PRHC Foundation President & CEO, Lesley Heighway, describes the ripple effect community fundraisers have. “They give people hope and it inspires other people to consider making a difference of their own by doing something similar,” she says. “Financially, fundraisers are extremely important for our hospital, but they also galvanize people. They bring people together. Dave inspired others to think ‘Wow, look at what he’s doing. Maybe I could do something similar.’”

Dave’s fundraiser grew beyond a single walk to a series of creative initiatives as more and more people were motivated to get involved.  

His daughter Leslie and son Matt organized a Hair & Handlebar shave with the hope of raising $1,000 to contribute to their father’s goal. Over $2,000 later, Leslie shaved her head and Matt sacrificed his signature moustache for the cause.

Dave’s wife, Liz, wasn’t to be outdone. “I baked 11 dozen shortbreads and pickled two big lots of beets to sell on Facebook,” she says. “And then my hairdresser heard about it and took six dozen of the cookies.” Other businesses in the region also reached out to make donations.

In December, Dave finished his chemotherapy and his walk, having taken 765,000 steps in his journey to say thanks for great care and help ensure patients like him continue to receive advanced, personalized cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment at PRHC.

PRHC Foundation President & CEO, Lesley Heighway, explains that since the government doesn’t fund hospital equipment, PRHC relies on community donations to fund the tools Health Centre experts use every day. “All of those gifts come together to enable the great care that we have here,” she says. “It’s also a huge morale boost when staff and medical professionals see what people like Dave are undertaking in the community to ensure that the next person who comes after them can have access to world-class care.”

Shortly after Dave finished his walk and treatment, the PRHC Foundation was grateful to receive $11,111 in donations collected through his fundraiser. And then Dave and Liz topped even that amount! “A Christmas card came with $50 in it,” says Liz. “So we added that to the donation to bring it to $11,161.”

“This experience was so humbling,” says Dave. “It’s an experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. I know at my age I won’t have a chance to do something like this again for my community. I feel fulfilled.”

The PRHC Foundation is incredibly grateful for the generosity of Dave and Liz, their family, friends and congregation, and the wider community who donated and contributed their time and support to Dave’s Walk. The funds raised are enabling PRHC to invest in advanced new CT scanner and MRI technology used in the diagnosis of cancer, and a state-of-the-art robotic intravenous automation (RIVA) system to ensure every complex, patient-specific chemotherapy dose is prepared safely and accurately in a sterile, automated environment.  

It’s donors who make the difference between good and great care. On behalf of PRHC, especially patients and their families, thank you to everyone involved in this generous initiative.

If you’d like to learn more about organizing your own personal fundraiser, please visit our Events page.

Patient says “thank you” for cancer care close to home

Doctor on stool and patient on bed smiling

At age 41, Melissa Hinze was a typically busy working mom, running a home business. But in October 2016, she visited PRHC’s Breast Assessment Centre with a suspicious lump. Scans revealed cancer in both breasts. She had biopsies and received an emergency diagnosis on the spot.

Melissa’s instinct was to fight. “What do we do next?” she asked. She met a patient navigator, received a referral for surgery, and shortly thereafter, had a double mastectomy. Since then, with her focus on living with cancer under the care of Dr. Neera Jeyabalan, Melissa has had hormone treatments, chemotherapy, further surgeries and hospital stays.

“PRHC is second to none,” she says about the donor-funded equipment and technology she’s so thankful for. She can’t imagine having to travel and stay elsewhere for treatment. Instead, all her care happens close to home.

Receiving care locally has been essential to Melissa’s ability to stay motivated. It’s allowed her to see life a little differently and notice what she calls “the silver linings” that come from having world-class cancer care close to home, thanks to donor generosity.

“Coming in here [to PRHC] and having great care is number one,” Melissa says, and for that she’s extremely grateful. “Because of this community, I have great care and the smartest, compassionate doctor. Even during COVID-19, I always feel safe coming to PRHC.” This allows her and her husband to focus on her care and healthy living at home, where she’s spending a lot more quality time with her kids.

“In the blink of an eye this was all taken away.”

Cancer patient Anthony Serracino-Inglott knows all about the power of gratitude and the impact that donations are having on patient care at your hospital.

Not that long ago he was a typical 16-year-old kid from Lindsay, going to school, playing hockey and hanging out with his friends. “In the blink of an eye this was all taken away from me when I found out I had Philadelphia-Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia,” he says.

Anthony spent months in a Toronto hospital bed, far away from friends and family. Now thanks to donors, Anthony and other pediatric cancer patients can receive their cancer treatment at PRHC, close enough that they can have time at home with friends and family and sleep in their own beds. “You know, normal stuff,” Anthony says. “I can fit my treatment into my life, not my life into my treatment.”

With the incredible support of donors, the PRHC Foundation was able to fund all of the new equipment and technology needed to operate the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO) Satellite Clinic at PRHC, completing the hospital’s current funding needs for pediatric cancer care in our region. We’re so grateful for this…and so is Anthony: “Thank you to everyone who supported this project and helped make sure kids like me can get their cancer care close to home.”